Cansdell on the move
By TOBY WALKER email@example.com
THE State Member for Clarence, Steve Cansdell, would have been hard-pressed to host a function for 50 people in his old 'rabbit warren' of an office opposite Grafton's Market Square.
But there was room enough for the Clarence Valley's business, civic and political leaders to rub shoulders with Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile and the other political heavyweights who were on hand for the opening of Mr Cansdell's new Prince Street headquarters yesterday.
Mr Cansdell's Nationals' colleague Andrew Fraser made the trip up from Coffs Harbour while the State Director for the NSW Nationals' Scott McFarlane, only three months into the job, attended his first official office opening in his new role.
Most in attendance were there at the invitation of Steve Cansdell the politician but the talents of Steve Cansdell the artist were also on display for the occasion.
Mr Cansdell's chalk-drawn tribute to the Clarence Valley's timber-getting pioneers formed a backdrop as people milled around his new digs across the road from the Clarence Valley Council's Grafton chambers.
According to the Clarence MP, the massive drawing, which covers an entire wall in his new office's front room, took a little over two hours to put together in anticipation of the official opening.
The hard graft over the weekend appeared to have left Mr Cansdell adequately relaxed for yesterday's function ? excepting the times he quietly fretted over the smudges of chalk left by those who had used the wall to lean against as they queued for their cup of tea.
In the background, council's recently re-elected mayor Ian Tiley chatted with Mr Vaile while people moved past to enjoy the obligatory fare of sweet snacks and the triangular sandwiches favoured at such events.
During the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mr McFarlane praised Mr Cansdell as a man of passion who avoided idealogies and political correctness in favour of getting the best for his electorate.
Mr Vaile continued the goodwill, telling the gathered audience that Mr Cansdell added to the 'diverse tapestry' of people who made up the Nationals.
After the green and gold ribbon had been cut, Mr Vaile officially declared Mr Cansdell's new office open.
"He's open for business, come in and hassle him."